The Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish tribes hosted a vaccine clinic for North Kitsap School District students 12-17 years old on Monday.
The clinic was held by appointment only, at the PGST Elder Center in Kingston. Recently the Food and Drug Administration Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year-olds with parental consent.
Those who received their first doses will be back June 7 for the second round of the vaccine.
The clinic had over 300 appointments available with 115 scheduled, which allowed for walk-ins. In total 136 vaccines were administered, with plans for a second event on May 26.
The two tribes have worked to get their adult members vaccinated against COVID-19 and have extended those opportunities to school district teachers and staff among other non-tribal neighbors. Now it is working to give that same access to area youth as quickly as possible.
“We’ve understood from the beginning that the best way to protect our tribe from COVID-19 is to ensure as many people as possible get vaccinated, especially those in our tribal community, their close contacts, and our staff, neighbors and friends,” said Jolene Sullivan, PGST’s health director. “Being able to administer vaccines to young people is an exciting next step in helping us move forward towards a pandemic-free life, and we’re happy to be able to play a role in that.”
Cherrie May, the Suquamish Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center manager, added; “This clinic is a major step towards safeguarding our families, schools and the whole community. We’re excited that youth throughout North Kitsap will be joining adults in getting vaccinated, and we’re looking forward to when we can fully reopen schools, gather for cultural activities and travel in safety.”